Several types of adoption occur in Pennsylvania. There is adopting one’s foster child, stepchild, or other kin, like a niece, nephew, or grandchild. One may adopt someone from another country or a domestic child placed for adoption. One may also adopt an adult.
Depending on the type of adoption you are considering, the requirements may vary. Taking in a child from another country has different procedures than adopting an adult stepchild. An experienced lawyer can help you understand what legal obligations you must satisfy and assist you with completing requirements of the adoption process.
Who Is Eligible to Adopt?
Pennsylvania has some restrictions on who may adopt. There is no residency requirement or state age minimum. Some foster or adoption agencies may establish their own age restrictions, however.
Single people as well as married couples may adopt. This includes same-sex couples. One member of a couple may adopt rather than both, as long as the other gives permission.
Whose Consent Do I Need?
If the adoptee is 12 years old or older, their consent is required. For children, permission from the birth parents is required. The birth parents of newborn infants have up to 30 days to withdraw consent. Exceptions are situations when the child is removed from the home.
Another part of the process for child adoptions are the birth parents’ termination of parental rights. Until their parental rights are revoked, they may halt the adoption. Voluntary termination involves the birth parents signing the appropriate paperwork. Involuntary termination does not require their permission. Both types are performed by the court.
What Is a Home Study?
Every state mandates a home study during the process of adopting a child. A social worker will visit your home and interview everyone in your family. There will also be an in-depth examination of references, autobiographical statements, financial information, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and background checks. All of this is to confirm you can provide a quality home for the child.
Why Are Background Checks Performed?
One of the reasons for background checks is to determine whether the prospective adopters have been involved in violent crime or have a history of abusing or neglecting others. The checks will also confirm whether your family is financially stable and healthy enough to care for the adoptee.
Background checks also gauge whether you are emotionally ready to adopt. This includes taking steps to maintain a positive relationship with the birth family where applicable, and being committed to adopt despite the challenges. For married couples, it is also to ensure both are in agreement about adoption and are both eager to go forward.
West Chester Family Law Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Provide Legal Representation to Families Wishing to Adopt
If you are wishing to adopt, reach out to one of our West Chester family law lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. We will help you navigate the legal requirements of the type of adoption you are pursuing and help you reach a favorable outcome. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.